Is Social Media the End for Public Relations Professionals?
For public relations professionals, the rise of social media can be seen as the greatest or worst thing that has happened within their industry. One one hand, many public professionals may feel that their career may be in jeopardy due to the direct connection companies now have with their customers.
On the other hand, with the speed and reach of social media communication being what it is today, some professionals feel that never before have their skills been in such high demand. Regardless where which side of the debate you fall, one thing remains true – social media is here to stay and it will greatly impact the PR in the years to come.
Effects on the Bottom Line
The implementation of social media has the ability to offer companies more opportunities to save money in the years ahead. Corporate Communications Manager for INgage Networks, Kathy Saenz, found that after implementing a social media marketing strategy her company had saved $270k in expenses. INgage had previously paid $250 annually to hire an external PR agency, but after bringing their PR in-house and focusing on a social media strategy, they were able to use the funds for other priority projects.
Furthermore, instead of spending the usual $20k in expenses for expensive venues, traveling, and promotions, the company is now focusing on running webinars. Saenz said, "It was a targeted B2B audience we wanted to reach; we broke record attendance numbers. We didn’t have to pay for anything as a result. Great exposure and big money saved."
Band of Outsiders
The independent PR community at large continues to develop its own ecosystem as more and more PR professionals continue to launch their own consultancies. According to LuAnn Glowacz, an independent PR strategist and founder of PR firm WordCove PR, the most valuable business connections are those with fellow independent PR and related professionals, that she engages with on social media on a regular basis.
More than Just Broadcasting
As social media continues to grow, companies are left to question whether hiring an outside agency or individual to manage their PR is necessary. However, as the PR industry is moving their focus of importance on broadcasting to placing a higher value on monitoring and measurement, PR professionals may soon find themselves empowered with the tools to quantify their ROI. According to Amanda Miller Littlejohn, founder of Mopwater Social Public Relations, broadcasting tools are still the most important tools today, but down the road that importance will shift to monitoring and measurement tools, “the tools that can demonstrate (and quickly demonstrate) return on engagement will be winners.”
Global Business and PR
As social media continues to grow to become an increasingly effective marketing tool, especially in the global market, companies will need to also be more aware of the conversations that are centered around them, not only domestically, but on a global level as well. With this in mind, it’s vital to have well-informed members on a PR team or locally-based and empowered representatives.
One Thing’s For Sure
Creating and fostering valuable relationships is the core of a successful public relations and social media team. These relationships will be the driving force behind the bond between social media and PR, as many PR experts will agree. There will always be a story to tell and there will always be a need to strategically tell them.